8 Tips to Tidy Up Your Budget
How much joy is in your budget?
Who else is watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix? It’s become quite the mini-phenomenon this year - sparking social media challenges and waves of thrift store donations.
If you aren’t familiar, the show is based on the best-selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and features author Marie Kondo guiding families in their quest to declutter their spaces and regain control of their lives. Both the book and show follow the Konmari method, which is a system of organization techniques including the idea that things should “spark joy.” If something doesn’t make you feel joy then it’s time to say “thank you” and part ways. The idea is when your space is tidy and full of joy, you’ll be happier.
But why stop after decluttering your space? You can apply similar techniques to your budget and financial life. While not every part of your budget is going to bring you joy, there are lots of ways to tidy up your budget.
8 Tips to Tidy Up Your Budget:
Tidy up the paperwork
Credit card statements, bank statements, paid bills, old receipts - chances are there’s a lot of paperwork piled up related to your finances. First, switch to online or email statements to cut down on future problems. Then sort and file what you want to keep and shred the rest. Getting rid of paper frees up space in your home and helps protect your identity.
And remember, Frederick County Bank hosts 2 free community shred days each year. So join us in Spring and Fall to destroy up to 3 boxes of documents.
Delete saved credit card information
Clear your browser history and saved credit card data. Not only is more secure, but it will help you pause before purchasing. This declutters your budget by removing impulse buys. You can always get your card from your wallet to buy something you really need or want.
Review your subscription and membership services
How many services are you subscribed to and how many do you truly enjoy? There are subscriptions for music, movies, audiobooks, wardrobe boxes, meal prep kits, ad-free tv, software, in-APP purchases, gym memberships, and tons more. Because they are convenient, fun, and often only a few bucks a month, it’s easy for these services to accumulate over time without us noticing. But they add up. Cancel any services you and your family are not actively enjoying.
Review recurring habits
So much of our spending can be due to mindless habits. Look at how often you are eating out, buying expensive drinks and coffees, getting your hair cut, getting a manicure, etc. Are these recurring expenses bringing you joy or are they just something you’ve gotten used to doing? If it’s the second, it’s time to say thank you, next.
Organize your budget
Just like it feels good to have a place for everything in your home, it feels good to have a place for everything in your budget. Think of your budget as full of little organizational boxes for each category of your finances. Check how your actual spending in each category compares to your predicted amount. Get your budget back on track by adjusting your categories and expectations to meet your expenses, your goals, and your income. Once you have a great plan in place, you’ll be more likely to follow it!
Automate your payments and savings
Use your bank’s online bill payment system so that you don’t have to manage due dates in your head. While you’re at it, set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings account or ask your employer to direct deposit a portion of your paycheck directly into your savings. Automation is a great way to stay organized and advance toward your goals.
Save for what brings you joy
No one else can tell you what your savings priorities should be, but make sure you prioritize the things that will bring you the most joy. This could be a new gadget, a once in a lifetime trip, spoiling your pets, or a big purchase like a house. Don’t let little purchases eat into your dreams. Set up your savings goals and work toward them. Give yourself permission to enjoy what you love.
Practice saying no to things that don’t bring you joy
Saying no is hard, but practice eliminating what doesn’t bring you joy. Say no to lunch at that restaurant you don’t like. Say no to spending time with people who make you feel bad about your finances. Say no to the impulse purchases you know you’ll regret later. Say no to spending on the person you wish you were instead of the person you are. Learn from the past to help make the future more joyful. When you say no to things that don’t bring you joy, you’ll be able to yes to the ones that do.
Whether or not you subscribe to the idea that you should de-clutter your space or that objects can bring you joy, it’s important to check in on your finances and find a system that works for you. And whether you tidy up your finances all at once or in baby steps, the best time to get started is today.
Do you know what goes with a #happybudget?
A really great bank!
Where you bank matters. When you bank locally, you are investing in the success and prosperity of our community. Just like when you shop at local stores, buy local produce and foods, and support local nonprofits, banking locally has a big impact. How does it work? Every bank invests in something. Community banks like ours invest in the local economy through small business loans and helping families.